It is understood that two Labour councillors in Haringey have been suspended by the Party in connection with antisemitism, which represents just the latest in a string of antisemitism scandals at the local authority over the past few years.
The first suspended councillor, Cllr Preston Tabois, was reported by Guido Fawkes to have appeared to endorse the despicable notion that Jews murdered each other in the Holocaust in some masterplan to create the State of Israel, and other antisemitic conspiracy theories. Cllr Tabois was also slated to be a Labour candidate for the London Assembly.
The Labour Party reportedly said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”
The other suspended councillor is Cllr Noah Tucker, who was exposed earlier this year as having told Tottenham’s Constituency Labour Party to drop a “zero-tolerance” clause from an antisemitism motion that it was debating. Cllr Tucker is reported to have suggested that Israel was somehow to blame for the racist killing of George Floyd, which is a popular antisemitic conspiracy theory, and he has also defended the disgraced then-Labour MP Chris Williamson.
Cllr Tucker reportedly said: “I am an opponent of racism in all its forms including antisemitism. Social media posts have been collated, including selective editing, seemingly in a malicious attempt to falsely associate me with antisemitism. States and organisations which engage politically are legitimately subjects of discussion and criticism. I am confident that a fair process by the Labour Party will reinstate me soon to full membership.”
Another local councillor, Gideon Bull, was previously exposed by Campaign Against Antisemitism as having referred to a Jewish Labour councillor as “Shylock” and consequently withdrew as the Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate in Clacton in the 2019 General Election. It is understood that Cllr Bull is intending to seek the Haringey mayoralty.
In 2018, two Jewish councillors in Haringey revealed that “it has become impossible to operate as a Jewish councillor in the Haringey [Labour] Party without having your views and actions prejudged or dismissed in terms that relate to your ethnicity,” and that “Haringey Labour is definitely not a safe space for Jews.”
The local authority is sometimes dubbed the “Corbyn Council” for its high proportion of Momentum councillors. Its former Leader and the most senior Labour woman in local government at the time, Cllr Claire Kober, stood down in 2018 after ten years in the post in protest against antisemitism, saying: “The levels of antisemitism I’ve seen in the Labour Party are just astonishing. The only thing I see that’s worse than sexism in the Labour Party is antisemitism.”
That adoption will not mean much if the Council itself does not investigate and take disciplinary action against the offending councillors, in addition to the Labour Party.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Something is rotten in the London Borough of Haringey. This one Labour-dominated local authority has seen a Council Leader step down in protest at Labour’s antisemitism, another councillor withdraw as a parliamentary candidate over antisemitism, two further councillors suspended by the Labour Party over antisemitism, and Jewish councillors complain of being the targets of antisemitism or having their identity give rise to prejudice by fellow local Party members.
“Under previous leadership, Haringey adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism. Not only must Labour investigate the local Party in the borough, but the Council itself must now launch its own investigations and take action against the offenders. This disgraceful state of affairs is totally unacceptable.”
A further councillor, who has sought to challenge the current Council Leader, has also reportedly been suspended by the Labour Party over an alleged anti-Muslim comment. In addition, another councillor has also previously been suspended from the Labour Party, although he has reportedly denied that his suspension is related to antisemitism and there is no indication that the suspension was related to antisemitism.
Campaign Against Antisemitism recently published its first Audit of Local Authorities, documenting the campaign for widespread adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by local authorities.